Surf Life Saving Tasmania Rescue Services volunteers expand flood swift water rescue capabilities 

This weekend the Surf Life Saving Tasmanian Rescue Services Forum took place. This was a travelling forum; first stop was Ulverstone where a full weekend of training for Emergency Response Teams (ERT) commenced. Then the forum travelled to the south of the state for the Sunday, whereby teams went on the water to test their capabilities in challenging swift water conditions near Judbury. 

30 current club and future Lifesaving Managers and club-based Emergency Response Team members attended the forum that provided the necessary information via a combination of theoretical and practical skill demonstrations for SLST members to enhance their current skills within their ERT roles and gain further knowledge within the areas of Flood Swift Water Rescue (FSWR).  The sessions provided valuable information to all members relating to their roles, responsibilities and obligations when carrying out duties within an 'emergency service'.  Some of the following topics were covered;

· Landscape of SLST’s Rescue Services 

· New Statewide Digital Radio Network

· Flood Swift Water Rescue Pathways and Training for Volunteer Personnel

· Safety Management Systems and legal requirements

Both days, members who expressed an interest in becoming part of the Flood Swift Water Rescue Team were given the opportunity to participate in some practical ‘Broad Water Operations’ training. On Saturday at Forth River at Port Sorell and Sunday the Huon River, near Judbury. The on water venues remained unknown to those who took part until the day, to create a ‘realness’ to the scenarios, as if the teams were activated for their services as they have been in the past. For instance, Launceston based members assisted SES and other emergency services with flood rescue support during the floods in June 2016. Selection of an appropriate venues was key to the success of the inaugural Rescue Services Forum, as fast running waters and challenging conditions were required to be able to test the skills and capabilities of the volunteers involved. A location near Judbury was chosen and deemed suitable for what Surf Life Saving aimed to achieve that day. 

“This weekend, certainly exceeded expectations and commitment shown by members that we continue to demonstrate operations beyond the red and yellow flags. In addition to showing to members the importance of continuous professional development and upskilling to broaden the organisations capabilities, this was an opportunity for Surf Life Saving Tasmania to demonstrate that that the

underpinning skills gained through what is typically known as surf rescue are most definitely and easily transferable across to the dynamic swift flood water environment 365 days of the year. Further reinforcing the organisations capacity for interoperability of skills between Tasmanian Emergency Services.

The Rescue Services Forum makes up part of our ongoing program of training for Flood Swift Water Rescue Operations to further enhance Surf Life Saving Tasmania’s inland, inshore and offshore rescue capabilities” said Boyd Griggs, Lifesaving & Services Manager. 

Media Opportunities:

Boyd Griggs Lifesaving & Services Manager SLST 0487 435 054

Videos: Drone footage available on request

For further information please contact: Boyd Griggs, Surf Life Saving Tasmania on 0487 435 054